Patients who suffer from excessive snoring, often due to sleep apnea, along with claustrophobia face a double whammy. Some of the treatments that can ease the snoring, like a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask, can trigger or exacerbate a claustrophobic episode.
Fortunately, these patients do have alternatives to reduce or eliminate their snoring. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) can be beneficial without evoking the same restrictive feelings that a CPAP mask often does. While the CPAP masks covers the nose and mouth, OAT allows for movement because the appliance is worn inside of the mouth.
An oral appliance positions the tongue or jaw in a place that minimizes the obstruction of the airway opening, which causes snoring. Certain appliances allow for enough tongue movement that eliminate the claustrophobic feelings.
When an oral surgeon designs an oral appliance to fit the patient’s unique mouth structure, that tailored fit also reduces the patient’s unpleasant feelings of being confined or stifled.
Furthermore, the appliance is rather comfortable and feels similar to wearing an athletic mouthguard at night. It’s uncommon for an oral appliance to interfere with a patient’s sleep—a common complaint about CPAP masks.
Snoring is a nuisance for a sleeping partner, but there are compelling health benefits for the patient who is treated for snoring or sleep apnea too. Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease and even sudden death. So, it’s important for all patients who have been diagnosed with this problem—claustrophobic or not—to pursue effective treatment.
An oral surgeon may recommend some behavioral changes in addition to OAT that can reduce the snoring even more. The patient may be encouraged to reduce alcohol consumption, lose weight or sleep on his or her side, along with other adjustments to the patient’s routine. All of those strategies can also cut down on snoring.
Don’t let claustrophobia keep you from getting a remedy for your snoring. Oral appliance therapy can be effective for claustrophobic patients, so discuss this treatment option with our skilled team of oral surgeons at ORA® Oral Surgery, Sleep Disorder & Implant Studio. Call 312-328-9000 and schedule your informative consultation today.